Justin said: ‘Issues of race are always just below the surface of any interracial encounter, and in the midst of any conversation with a black person, I wonder if it’s possible to have a genuine conversation without addressing race.’ Is this really how a lot of people feel, or are these the feelings of a small number of people? Where I come from, we interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds all the time, and race is rarely a big deal. I grew up in a predominantly Latino area, but there were a lot of whites, Filipinos and Japanese people as well. A lot of people married someone of a different background, so people’s families were fairly mixed. Where I live now, it is a similar situation, except that the area is even more diverse. I work with people every day whose families came from everywhere on the planet. Of course, our differences are important because they are part of who we are, but it is rarely an issue. We have ‘interracial encounters’ all day long. Are the feelings expressed by Justin more common among people who have little or no contact with people of different backgrounds?